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A Very Fast Track Leads To Tech Firm’s Purchase

NetSift, Inc. is a San Diego company on the fast track , a track so fast, in fact, that NetSift will soon be absorbed into Silicon Valley tech giant Cisco Systems.

This comes only a year after NetSift was founded.

Last week, Cisco announced plans to buy NetSift for $30 million in cash and options. The sale is expected to close by the end of July.

NetSift specializes in the security of high-speed computer networks. Brainpower from UC San Diego and Enterprise Partners Venture Capital was the propulsion that sent NetSift on its meteorlike ascent.

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The company builds on research that George Varghese, a UCSD professor of computer science and engineering, performed on ways to spot and combat fast-spreading computer worms. Also doing key work was graduate student (and NetSift chief scientist) Sumeet Singh, graduate student Cristian Estan (now a professor at the University of Wisconsin) and UCSD professor Stefan Savage.

Varghese took a one-year leave of absence from his job at UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering so he could work on NetSift. It looks as though one year will turn into two years: Varghese has agreed to work for Cisco in San Jose for a year, and is expected back at UCSD in September 2006.

Enterprise Partners would not reveal the return on its investment in NetSift. The University of California stands to make money in the transaction via a license fee, though the university has not released that number.

NetSift has 15 employees. Some will move to Cisco’s Internet Systems business unit in San Jose.

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Army PC Work:

The Titan Corp. will continue to provide information technology services for the top people in the Army, specifically 10,000 military, civilian and contract employees running personal computers on their desks.

Titan last week announced a deal that could be worth $405.9 million over seven years, provided that the Army exercises all of its options.

The San Diego-based company and its subcontractors will compete to provide a menu of services such as installation, system administration, videoconferencing and operating a service desk. Titan will also support the Army’s effort to update its desktop computers.

Awarding the contract was the U.S. Army Headquarters Information Management Support Center. The dozen subcontractors on the deal include Hewlett-Packard Co., CACI International Inc. and Lockheed Martin Information Technology.

Titan trades on the New York Stock Exchange as TTN.

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Say It And Play It:

Speech command technology developed by San Diego-based V-Enable is at work on Leap Wireless International’s Cricket wireless phone network.

People who would like to personalize their phones with a new ring tone can simply speak the name of an artist. The phone will then present them with a list of tones to preview and download.

V-Enable develops mobile speech search technology. Sam Poole is chief executive officer of the privately held company.


Contact Brad Graves via e-mail at bradg@sdbj.com, or call him at (858) 277-6359, Ext. 3115.

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